Duterte lets loose its wheel of terror in Mindanao

“Consistent with the militarist and fascist tradition of state security forces who came up with the cruel and inhuman wheel of torture, Duterte cooks up his own upgraded and vicious version – the wheel of terror. State terrorism has become more rampant, more apparent as martial law ravages Mindanao. With Duterte’s counterinsurgency program compounded by military rule, the wheel of terror has been set in motion, fully implemented by the state’s entire machinery,“ said Karapatan Deputy Secretary General Roneo Clamor, in a forum on the impact of martial law in indigenous and peasant communities in Mindanao on February 26, 2018 at the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) Ecumenical Center. 

Issues such as continuing human rights violations in indigenous and peasant communities, highlighting cases of torture, trumped-up charges against leaders of progressive organizations, and killings in Mindanao, were cited in the said forum. 

According to Karapatan, as of December 2017, there are already 126 documented cases of extrajudicial killings in the entire country, at least 930 cases of illegal arrests, 92 victims of torture, 426,590 victims of forcible evacuation, 56,456 victims of threat, harassment and intimidation, 362,355 residents affected by indiscriminate firing, and 92 recorded victims of forced/fake surrender. 

“What is evident is that the state and its machinery remain as the number one violators of people’s rights, deliberately defying national laws and agreements, and international human rights instruments that aim to protect and promote human rights. Like the wheel of terror, the violations come in different forms, but it is every bit as destructive, as brutal, and as negligent of the people’s welfare,” Clamor commented.

Norma Dollaga of the Ecumenical Voice for Peace and Human Rights (EcuVoice) and Rise Up network also insisted “that in the course of the Duterte regime’s trampling and subverting of people’s rights, accountability must be firmly sought.”

Karapatan and EcuVoice joins the victims of martial law and all human rights violations in calling for justice and accountability from the fascist and militarist Duterte regime. 

“Duterte and his government will hear resounding protests – in waves that that will gradually resonate in the comfortable and guarded ivory towers of this government and all its institutions. This will be led by the victims whom this regime has incessantly tried to silence. The wheel of terror will be put to rest by the deafening call of the people to make the perpetrators, foremost Duterte himself, accountable,” concluded Dollaga.